NOTHSTINE: Want freedom? Spend more time outside

Eamon Queeney—The North State Journal
Caleb Drummond

Does politics have you down? It should, at least to some degree. I don’t mean feeling down to the extent that it is causing you to have hysterical outbursts and dire predictions of endless calamity. Leave that for the unhinged ideologues playing on an endless loop on television and social media. Contrary to the promises emanating from the progressive schemers, politics has severe limitations to improve your life. Addiction to all things political diminishes freedom, critical thinking, and health and sanity. If that study is not published in the New England Journal of Medicine, it should be. Freedom too means exercising your liberty and getting outside more.Per a report from WUNC, more people are doing that. North Carolina State Parks had almost 19 million visitors last year, an increase of 9 percent from last year and 32 percent from 2013. The North Carolina Museum of Art in Raleigh wisely expanded their park offering. The 164-acre campus of the museum is one of the largest of its kind in the world and recently added 17 acres of greenery to attract more visitors who enjoy the outdoors.But if you live in a more populated area of our state, don’t just be one of those urbanized automatons who misses out on North Carolina’s more rustic beauty. There is a greater need for many Americans to understand rural culture and the life it often demands. The rural experience has less time for idleness, self-absorption, and dependency. And even though masculinity is a dirty word now, if you are male, getting outside can help you find this diminishing virtue.When the great 19th century French writer Alexis de Tocqueville visited this country and wrote “Democracy in America,” he was not impressed much with Washington, D.C. However, upon visiting the interior, he felt like the American experiment in self-government could be successful. Thomas Jefferson worried too about excessive urbanization, claiming it would make us as “corrupt as in Europe.”For many, watching sports was once the great escape, but North Carolinians know all too well how that has been rapidly politicized. Many of the hyper-ideologues now even root for players or teams solely because of political blathering by an organization or sports figure.The nearness of Spring and Easter is a reminder of change and our need to spend more time in God’s good creation. Astronaut Alan Shepard said he was moved to tears upon seeing the beauty of earth from the surface of the moon. The late great Detroit Tiger announcer Ernie Harwell, a timeless voice from Georgia, captured this well when he used to kick off every opening spring game by quoting two verses from Song of Solomon: “For lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone; the flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land.”Don’t miss out on the Old North State and that ancient truth.
Ray Nothstine is a member of the North State Journal’s editorial board, separate from the news staff. Unlike other newspapers, the North State Journal does not publish unsigned editorials; the author or authors of every editorial, letter, op-ed, and column is prominently displayed. To submit a letter or op-ed, see our submission guidelines.